Can You Have Too Many Clouds? IBM’s Ed Kimm & Flexential’s Craig Cook Say It Depends Who You Ask

DENVER, CO – A centerpiece of CAPRE’s International Data Center Series is how to navigate and capitalize on a changing industry and changing enterprise landscape. That’s why CAPRE’s Construction, Design, Engineering Evolution and the Optimization of Hyperscale, Colocation & Enterprise Data Centers in Denver featured a discussion titled “Staying Relevant as a Data Center Provider: Digital Transformation and Optimizing the Client’s Journey to the Cloud” featuring a pair of forward-thinking though leaders from two highly influential organizations: Ed Kimm, of IBM’s Global Technology Services team and Craig Cook, Vice-President for Solutions Architecture and Engineering at Flexential. In this piece, we highlight the perspective of both panelists when answering the question “Can you have too many Clouds?”

First to answer was Kimm, who had a firm maybe up his sleeve. “It depends who you ask. The whole term “multi-cloud” is predicated on the hyperscale providers. So you’re going from the Public Cloud to the Public Cloud to the Public Cloud. And in a Hybrid Cloud, you have Public Clouds, you have Private Clouds, you have colocation. You have up and down now, not just left and right,” he illustrated. “So now, there’s this huge inflection point [in the data center industry] where organizations are doing CapEx and OpEx infrastructure, but they’re also trying to put infrastructure at the Edge. So to answer your question, I think you can have too many, but the only real question is how can you manage all those Clouds? It’s more important than ever to have governance today, especially with all of these international sovereignty laws now.”

“I live in Washington State, which will have its own [version of] the GDPR next year. California just passed its own Citizen Protection act this year, and it’s starting in January,” Kimm continued. “So all of the states are following the GDPR compliance and regulatory needs. So you need to be able to figure out how you’re going to control all of this data, how you’re going to secure it. And you need to honor the right to be forgotten.”

Ed Kimm, Global Technology Services, IBM

According to Kimm, how you govern your data and how you manage it depends on the customers you’re serving. “If you’re serving clients in Asia, it probably makes sense to have a footprint with redundancy in Asia, and therefore with the provider who best suits that requirement,” he explained. “Maybe that’d be AliBaba in this case. It really just depends on what you’re trying to accomplish, the customers you want to try to service, the workloads you are want to be able to manage, the governance behind all of that, and then the risk and compliance required behind it – and then it’s about getting it to spin.”

Next, Cook chimed in, largely concurring, but with some additional insight. “I totally agree with what Ed said there. Everybody’s answer is going to be different in terms of how many Clouds is the right number of Clouds for us,” he explained. ” I think that you’ll always have trade-offs in terms of striking that balance. There’s a perfectly tailored solution here, but it adds to enough management complexity that maybe it’s not worth the trade-off of having a few less featured over there, with. smaller cloud provider. Everybody has got to make that decision themselves.”

“Having that services equation is key,” segued Cook, hearkening back to earlier remarks by Kimm that day. “Because just having the product set doesn’t necessarily help those customers to be able to consume those services from you very well. As much as technology has changed over the last decade, with the advent of the Cloud, and the pace of innovation and all of these services that are coming out, the ability to help customers adjust culturally and procedurally is just as important as it is technologically. That’s how I see it – getting people to change is a lot harder than adopting the technology itself.”

For more coverage of this panel, check out previous CAPRE Insider Reports:

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